Posted by Jessica Nelson on Feb 8, 2013 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror, Women of Horror | 1 comment
In honor of Women in Horror Recognition Month, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at how we judge not only books, but people, by the way they’re initially presented. In this case, the artists whose works grace the covers of my favorite media: books and magazines.
We’ve all been told before to never judge a book by its cover. This saying doesn’t just apply to actual books, but to all facets of life where one might make a snap judgment based on very little information. It’s often uttered in hindsight, with tones of regret lacing the words as someone realizes their initial judgment was flawed and whatever they ended up with was found to be lacking. Still, we do it, again and again. We allow ourselves to be lead by initial information, often not looking into a situation to learn more and make a more informed decision. We take our initial impressions and run with them.
How often do we later find that our flawed choice was no one’s fault but our own? How often do we find that if we’d just looked into it a little more, given the thing its due attention, we could have made a better choice? How many times do we realize our bad decision was based on a societal fallacy of some sort, maybe one we didn’t even realize was influencing us?
For some reason, when people think of women in horror, we’re never the writers, the artists, the directors, the creators. We’re the sexy blond covered in mud, being chased through the woods by an axe murderer. We’re the hot brunette handcuffed to the bars of a rusted out old ghost town jail cell, twisting helplessly with our arms overhead, shirt pulled up to reveal an enticingly flat section of skin just above our waistband. But how many of us are really those girls? How many of us are really the writers, the artists, the directors, the creators? How many of us are trying with all our might to be the creators, only to be shot down because we had the gall to put our gender-specific names on the front of our manuscripts or books or artwork? Today, in honor of Women in Horror Recognition Month, I’m encouraging you to stop judging books by their covers … by judging some covers.
Ekatarina Zagustina (aka Katja Faith) is a professional artist living in Belgorod, Russia. Her favorite styles of art are surrealism, dark art, and conceptual art. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, then, that she’s behind these beautiful and haunting images (including Apex Magazine #39, which is my favorite cover of all time, from any book or magazine):
Edith Walter is the artist behind Apex Book Company’s first Dark Faith anthology. Her art is dark and mysterious; a perfect hint at the tales lying within the pages.
Aunia Kahn is an American artist living in Illinois. Her dreamlike works of art are often based on real-life trauma and horror, making them perfect illustrations for the fictitious horrors we so love. Her work has graced galleries, tarot decks, and the cover of Apex Magazine issue 43.
I can’t help wondering at the difficulty I had in finding biographical information on some of these talented artists. Most had no wikipedia page dedicated to them. Only one had a short biography alongside her portfolio on DeviantART. You may argue that this is one reason why women are underrepresented in horror, and I will admit it is one possibility; but who creates Wikipedia pages? Fans, usually. And before one gains fans, their work must have exposure. To gain exposure, one must have fans. If you like the pieces featured here today, let’s give these brilliant women of horror some attention. Seek out their work. Buy it. Talk about it (and them). Create Wikipedia pages. Women in horror deserve recognition, and only we can give it to them.
Jessica Nelson has been writing since girlhood. She started out writing short stories for herself, usually centering around something like a unicorn and Pegasus prancing along the top of a rainbow, causing glitter to fall from the sky. As she grew, so did her love of words. She filled blank volumes faster than she could get her hands on them, teaching her the true value of napkins, menus, skin, and even her blue jeans.
Jessica has since found her niche in the world of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. She keeps a blog of bookish things and miscellaneous bric-a-brac she thinks readers might find interesting at http://allwaysunmended.com and writes book reviews for The Future Fire. She lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband, two daughters, and a slew of critters, spending her days reading, crafting, tapping at the keyboard, and picking up fur balls. Follow her on Twitter @AllwaysUnmended.